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Is Facebook reaching ‘tipping’ point?


Is Facebook reaching ‘tipping’ point?

Social network Facebook is believed to be considering setting up a virtual ‘tip jar’, so that users of the site can give tips to the people and pages they like the most.

This new proposal is just one of a number of ideas being suggested by the network in a bid to boost monetising its sponsored posts. This could lead to an increase in the amount of branded content that appears on the timelines of each user.

Facebook is currently consulting with a number of users about which of the ideas to implement in the form of a survey, which was shared by the Verge. Other options up for discussion are branded content, where users could earn money for posting with a sponsored brand, a donation option where users can donate to a charity of the page’s choice, and revenue sharing where users would receive a portion of the revenue generated by ads.

The idea of a virtual tip jar has been trialled in the past, with the most notable attempt coming through start-up Flattr. This site allowed users to set a budget on a monthly basis to be distributed amongst a number of chosen tip jars. The feature is also popular on Bitcoin because of the site’s low transaction fees.

However, most attempts to implement the function have failed. This is because many sites that do set up a virtual tip jar do not offer a compatible payment mechanism for users, whereas those who can offer the correct payment mechanism may not have set up the tip jar.

With Facebook being the largest social network on the planet, it could be the first site to successfully implement the virtual tip jar, and could see a new trend of online tipping coming into fruition. Those behind the idea may be thinking that if it works for businesses in the hospitality sector, it could work for others too.

Should this option be trialled by the company, it could mean that users may see an influx in the number of people and pages utilising the sponsored post tools in a bid to make a little more cash.

It remains unclear whether or not Facebook intends to use these features, or is just conducting market research to gather the ideas of users. In terms of the virtual tip jar, sources suggest that it would only be verified users who would have the ability set them up, and it raises the question of whether Facebook would be looking for a share of each jar too.

Alan Littler

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